England stood on the brink of a first Ashes series triumph in Australia for 24 years after dominating the fourth day of the fifth test with both bat and ball on Thursday.
The tourists racked up a record 644 for a first-innings lead of 364 before James Anderson, Tim Bresnan and Chris Tremlett wreaked havoc among the hosts and reduced them to 213 for seven in their second innings.
Australia, batting in what now looks a forlorn attempt to save themselves from the humiliation of a third innings defeat in the series, had Steve Smith (24) and Peter Siddle (17) at the crease but still trailed by 151 runs going into the final day.
“It was a fantastic feeling being out there today,” wicketkeeper Matt Prior, who made 118 runs said.
“To get them seven down and in a pretty good position to win tomorrow ... it's pretty hard to beat. England had already ensured they would retain the Ashes by taking a 2-1 lead in the series in Melbourne and justneeded just a draw at Sydney to seal the series win.
Apart from Shane Watson who was run out, most of the Australian wickets fell to swing bowling.
Hughes lasted a little longer before falling for 13 after getting an edge to a Bresnan. The next two wickets to fall were also caught behind, Anderson getting his 22nd and 23rd victims of the series in Usman Khawaja and Michael Clarke. Bresnan then picked up Mike Hussey and Tremlett landed a double blow scalping Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson in successive deliveries. Scenting victory England claimed the extra half an hour they are allowed to force a result but Smith and Siddle held on.
England had added 156 runs to their overnight tally before the Australians finally winkled them out just after lunch, but not before they had bettered the previous record of 636-8 declared the 1928-29 tourists achieved at the same ground.
Prior clinched his fourth test century with a confident drive through the covers for a boundary. Bresnan (35) put on 102 for the eighth wicket with Prior, who made his 118 with 11 fours and one six before Hilfenhaus had him caught behind.